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Chapter 1. The Problem with the Blue E > Long, Long Ago...in Internet Time

1.1. Long, Long Ago...in Internet Time

Before the Web was developed, there were several ways to communicate over the Internet, including the still ubiquitous email, Telnet (used to log into machines remotely and run programs on a command line), Usenet (otherwise known as newsgroups), and FTP (which allows people to download software and other items). There was even something called Gopher, which allowed users to navigate through folders arranged in an outline-like structure to find the desired information. All of these Internet technologies (with the exception of email) lacked something that would have made their use more widespread, be it ease of use, simplicity, or a sufficiently wide assortment of available resources.

Tim Berners-Lee, a scientist at CERN (the Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucleaire, or European Organization for Nuclear Research, a European physics lab), developed the World Wide Web in 1990 as a means for scientists to share narrative documents without having to worry about operating systems or word-processing software. Documents (and soon, images) were stored on web servers, computers that patiently listen for requests for particular pages or pictures and then respond with the asked-for items. The software making the requests became known as a web browser, the idea being that using the Web was so easy that a user could simply browse for the desired information.


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